The stretch of Highway 522 where the road has yet to be widened, between Paradise Lake Road and the Snohomish River Bridge, is a notorious choke point.
It’s not uncommon for Mary Frances Chesnut, of Everett, to see drivers get fed up with the backups and try to jump ahead in line by taking Echo Lake Road, making a U-turn, then re-merging onto the highway.
“This compounds the backup and mess as 10 to 20 cars are trying to merge back onto 522 instead of occasional cars,” Chestnut wrote.
Widening the highway, and building a new interchange at Paradise Lake Road, are both millions of dollars and many years away.
While long-term fixes wait, how about a short-term solution: a ramp meter?
“If cars were stopped by a light, that might deter them from making that exit and it would regulate all those cars merging back into 522,” Chesnut said. “Perhaps this would help keep 522 moving along. Would there be money for this meter?”
There’s no money for the big fixes.
And there’s no money for this small one either, said Tom Pearce, a spokesman with the Washington State Department of Transportation.
“Yes, a ramp meter signal on the Echo Lake-Fales Road eastbound on-ramp to SR 522 would probably help the traffic situation in that area,” Pearce wrote. “Unfortunately, like just about everything, it comes down to having money for the project. There is no funding for a signal right now, but WSDOT is working with state and local elected officials to identify funding sources.”
The cost to install a meter signal there would be about $250,000.
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